Patrick Melrose series

Image

Before I go to Hong Kong three weeks ago, I was already looking forward to buying the 5 books in the Patrick Melrose series (Never Mind, Bad News, Some Hope, Mother’s Milk and At Last). I already imaging myself picking it up at a branch of Page One. But they are out of stock, at least, not complete. So I went home frustrated.

But when I inquired in National Bookstore last week, I was told by their customer service staff in Rockwell that it is available in their database, but they still have to request for transfer from other branch. So I told her to give me a call when the book is now available for pick up.

Last night, I already got the book. It was a compilation of the book 1-4 in the series, while the book 5 which was published last year, is still a separate book.

Patrick Melrose will keep me company this summer. I am excited. Will tell you all about it.

Image

Last of my Hong Kong trip post!

DSC09533

The Hong Kong skyscraper is beautiful during night time, when all the neon lights from the tall buildings are lighted. My apologies for the blurry effect, it is really cold that time and I can’t seem to steady my hands while capturing images in my camera.

DSC09530

DSC09560

Hong Kong at night looks lovely. It is crowded also with walking people, but their streets, even if it is a little narrow, managed to be organized and not much traffic. I guess, they use few cards there. They are more of an MTR people, you know, those fast trains underground.

DSC09576

So after a two-day of walking and running in Hong Kong, I am back to their airport for my return flight back to Manila. But before that, I have to taste the famous ramen house inside, Ajisen Ramen.

DSC09582

They have a local store in Manila, in Greenhills. I haven’t been there, but I would like to go there for some food trip soon.

Hong Kong MTR

Cosmopolitan cities have efficient metro trains, and Hong Kong has one fine excellent MTR. It makes travel from point A to B efficient and easy. All you need is an Octopus card, a post-paid card which you can purchase almost anywhere in Hong Kong, and is reloadable also anywhere, including 7-11 convenient stores.

This is how the railway stations in Hong Kong are. Most of them are underground, with maybe the exception of the line going to the airport.

hongkong-mtr-map

It’s a little complicated for someone who is going there for the first time. But you will get the hang of it, it is so easy to understand. When I was there, the place where I stay overnight is just above the Jordan station, the blue line in the picture. That is along the Nathan Road.

octopus-card

Commuters don’t line up to buy tickets anymore because the cards can be bought anywhere, and not just in the stations. That is something our local MRT here in Manila is planning to replicate. I must say, that is long overdue already. It speeds up the process and eliminates choking points especially in the entry to the train.

Their trains are efficient, and arrives/leaves by the minute.

IMG_3635

Foods are not allowed inside the terminals, and they are fined heavily. That is why its very clean.

DSC09513

Most people in Hong Kong use the MTR that is why their roads upstairs are only used by buses and private cars. There is not much traffic in the roads because most passengers are downstairs, in the subway. Look.

DSC09507

The traffic on the road daytime and night time are just the same. The feeling of rush hour is below, in the MTR!

IMG-20130223-01035

I hope that our own MRT in Manila will be as useful to daily commuters like the way it is helpful for people in Hong Kong. But I guess we have to get rid of security guards whisking your bags upon entering the stations. They don’t have that in Hong Kong.

If only people in Manila follow the rules, and the do’s and don’ts of riding the MRT. Someday.

 

Lost in (Hong Kong) Translation

From the airport, I went straight to the Runner’s Collection Pack area in Victoria Park, Hong Kong island. I was with a friend who is based in Hong Kong. We just took the bus from the airport, so it took us around 1 hour. There is not much traffic jam so the travel is smooth.

Hong Kong reminds me of Singapore because they have resemblance—both are tiny city-states, with the world’s busiest ports. You can really see huge cranes and piles of cargo boxes in the port. And this is what baffles me—even if they have busy ports, still their sea looks green and clean. That is especially true in Singapore.

CSC_3400

Hong Kong buses are double-deckers, reminiscent of those famous red ones in London. It was around noon when we arrived in Victoria Park. It is a sprawling park in the middle of tall buildings. I was expecting that there will be queues due to the massive number of runners joining this marathon. But I was wrong, because when I got there, I feel like I am the last to claim. It feels deserted.

DSC09503

The weather then is cold, so even if it is noon time, it is good to walk and stroll. Their marathon are being run by volunteers from schools. In the claiming area, these young Hong Kong teenagers are wearing their scout uniforms. Why are majority of Chinese teenagers wearing specks? Are they pre-disposed to have poor eyesight at such a young age? Baffling.

DSC09505

After I got my paraphernalia for the run the following day, we headed straight to where I will be staying overnight. I rented a room for me within the Nathan Road (Tsim Sha Tsui portion) area. This is the place where my 21K run will start, so it is convenient on my part that after waking up on Sunday, all I have to do is go downstairs and walk to warm up to the starting line.

When I put my backpack in my room, we check for some Chinese lunch. Yes, the trip to Hong Kong will not be complete without eating what the locals are eating. There’s a convenient food chain called Café de Corral near my place of stay, so we check it out to eat lunch. I had what they call a combo of friend pork, sausage, salted egg, and Chinese pechay.

img_1387

When we are done with lunch, we check out the exact venue of the starting line along Nathan Road. We walked only because the weather is great. Google maps was very helpful. After one hour and a half of searching, we finally find it. At least I have the idea where I will be starting for the run the following day.

I was ask for several times in Chinese. Must be my eyes, but sorry, I am not a native!

I saw a Superdry store on my way. I was tempted to buy a shirt, but when I realized that my main purpose of going to Hong Kong is to run and not purchase a HK$450 shirt, I decided not to. Besides, their designs there are not that okay versus the ones I saw in their Bonifacio High Street store in Taguig. At least in that particular store along Nathan Road.

DSC09510

I went back to my rented place afterwards to take a rest for a few hours. I had barely 3 hours of sleep the previous night because I have to wake up early for my flight at 5.30am. Catching up on my sleep even for just a few hours. This has great effect on my running performance the following day.

Avenue of Stars by day.

Avenue of Stars by day.

Around 6pm, when I have rested a bit, we went sightseeing. And when I say sightseeing, I only mean going to the Avenue of Stars in Kowloon side of Hong Kong. This is that famous view of the Hong Kong skyscrapers which we normally see during the New Year celebrations when the tall buildings emit fireworks. It was really cold then. Too bad, I only brought a travelling jacket with me. I have to borrow some anti-cold apparel from a friend in Hong Kong. After a few minutes of photo-op, I can’t stand it anymore. My nose felt painful when I inhale the cold air, and my ears are getting numb. So we headed to the Tsim Tsa Tsui area to eat dinner.

DSC09536

DSC09539

I specifically want a bowl of soup or ramen, so we decided to drop by Yoshinoya. It is Japanese, but the cold outside is just too much. I need to go indoors where it’s a little warmer. I had a nice Japanese dinner before I headed back to my room.

—————

Next posts include MTR, Hong Kong by night, and how something from the Philippines benefit runners during the Hong Kong Marathon.

Musings about Hong Kong Airport

It was my first time to be in Hong Kong, and when I decided to join the Standard Chartered Hong Kong Marathon 2013, I told myself that this is the right time to visit the former British colony, a cosmopolitan city with efficient rail system.

The city-state is just about 1.45 hours via air from Manila. So it feels like going to Davao from Manila or any city in Mindanao for that matter. The only difference is the temperature and the swanky, huge airport in the middle of the sea.

I have been hearing about how nice the Hong Kong airport is. And when I arrived there last week, it really is beautiful. Coming from a Third World country, theirs is super nice. And big.

DSC09500

IMG-20130223-00997

When you reach the HK airport, their floors are carpeted. In NAIA, its tiled. It is quiet, the way you want it after leaving the plane. Passengers are tired, so all they need is a quiet airport. You need to ride a fast train from the airport that will lead you to the main airport for immigration. Yes, that’s how big it is.

There’s a plastered sign that says how frequent the train arrives. Every two minutes! How I wish we have the same in MRT. 🙂

IMG-20130223-00998

Below is the fast train going to the main airport for your immigration clearance and arrival.

IMG-20130223-01000

Below is the aerial view of the huge airport. It is far from the city proper, around 1 hour by bus or 20-30 minutes by MTR (their subway train).

img2

Their arrival area is like an upscale mall, equipped with fast food chains to your own liking. When I arrived there early morning, I drop by Mc Donald’s to eat some breakfast before heading for the downtown. I also convert my US dollars to Hong Kong dollars in the airport. They have convenient forex kiosks situated in both arrival and departure areas.

DSC09502

Hong-Kong-Airport-Interior-Up

——————

Next topic: Weather, City Proper and the rest of Hong Kong. Yes, including food.